Preston Laird has been hired as an assistant coach for the UNLV men’s basketball program, head coach Marvin Menzies announced.
Laird spent the past two years working under Menzies for the Runnin’ Rebels as their director of basketball operations, and recently moved into the assistant coach role on an interim basis.
“After going through a rigorous search and interviewing several qualified candidates, it became apparent that the perfect fit for us was right here at UNLV,” Menzies said. “Having worked with Preston over the last six years, I am confident that he will help us with our program’s upward trajectory, while at the same time maintaining continuity. He has been working toward an opportunity like this and has earned it through his loyalty, hard work and passion for developing young adults.”
After his first season in Las Vegas, Laird was named to the 2017 Under Armour 30-Under-30 Team, which is comprised of up-and-coming young coaches recognized by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
“I am grateful to have worked for Coach Menzies over the last six years,” Laird said. “Coach is a tremendous leader, and his mentorship has brought me to this point. I am excited to continue assisting with the growth of this program and the development of our student-athletes.”
Laird came to Las Vegas in 2016 after spending four years at New Mexico State under Menzies. Laird served as the Aggies’ director of basketball operations during his final season (2015-16) in Las Cruces. Prior to that, he served as a graduate assistant and then as special assistant to the head coach.
During Laird’s time at NMSU, the program made four straight postseason appearances and won two regular-season Western Athletic Conference Championships. He was on the staff during the team’s run to three consecutive WAC Tournament Championships (2013-15) and three straight NCAA Tournament berths, along with an invitation to the NIT in 2016.
Under Menzies, Laird has gained experience with daily program operations, team travel, scheduling, compliance, fundraising, recruiting, student-athlete development, academics, community outreach, summer camp, and other special projects.
Prior to his time at New Mexico State, Laird enjoyed a playing career at Memphis from 2008-12. He walked on and helped the Tigers reach the Sweet 16 under head coach John Calipari. At the start of the 2009 season, Laird was named team captain and earned a full athletic scholarship under head coach Josh Pastner.
During his four years at Memphis, Laird was part of four postseason appearances including three NCAA Tournaments.
Laird earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Memphis in 2012 and holds a master’s in curriculum and instruction from New Mexico State, which he earned in 2014.